The Music of Mythical Creatures
The exploration of mythical creatures is an invitation to journey outside reality. Music, too, has the power to transport us to other worlds.
You've already experienced this if your mood has ever shifted from glum to energetic just by a simple press of the play button. Maybe a piece of music inspired a journey to a far-off place in your child's imagination. Playlists full of rhythmically-charged tunes keep us energized in intense exercise sessions. A gentle lullaby can rock our children to sleep.
Program music is designed to tell a story. Many pieces exist that feature mythical creatures.
Here are just a few that you and your kids can explore:
Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky
Stravinsky was inspired by the Russian folktale of a magical bird whose feathers glow red, orange, and yellow. Even one feather from this mythical creature can light an entire room!
- Listen for the fire-y, flight-like sounds in Stravinsky's Firebird Suite
- This music was first written to accompany a ballet
- Genaddy Spirin's spell-binding book, elaborately illustrated, tells the Russian tale
- You can read about this blazingly beautiful creature online, too
In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg
In the Hall of the Mountain King features not only an underground kingdom of trolls but a troll king! Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg, wrote this piece based on Henrik Ibsen's play, Peer Gynt. You'll hear Peer's adventure in the kingdom of the trolls and the frantically exciting chase that ensues in this version for orchestra.
- Listen to this thrilling version for piano and another with a keyboard view
- Dive deeper into the story and musical details of this piece
- There's even a picture book based on this story
If you and your kids enjoy this mix of mythical creatures and music, there are many more examples to explore:
- A Witch and a Magical Hut on Chicken Feet: Baba Yaga from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky (piano version)
- An Elf King: Erlkonig by Franz Schubert (voice and piano, solo violin, very dramatic vocal version)
- A Will-o-the-Wisp: Song of the Will-o-the-Wisp from El Amor Brujo by Manuel de Falla (jazz version)
- A Dragon Named Fafnir: Sigreid Kills the Dragon from Sigreid by Richard Wagner
- Fairies and Sprites: A Midsummer Night's Dream by Felix Mendelssohn
- A Griffin: The Gryphon from Anthology of Fantastic Zoology by Mason Bates
- A Banshee: The Banshee by Henry Cowell
And last but not least, don't forget Puff the Magic Dragon, a favorite of young and old alike!
Posted March 1st, 2020
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